Women in Games

Women in Games Extraordinary Board Meeting October 2018.

Our mission at Women in Games is to achieve full equality of opportunity and treatment for all women working, or wanting to work, in the games and esports industries. And we’ve been striving towards this goal for 9 years – raising awareness and implementing initiatives that seek to change attitudes, deliver impact and create the conditions for women in our sector to achieve their full potential.

Women in Games has been a grassroots organization relying on goodwill, ad hoc sponsorship donations and the tireless efforts of volunteers who believe in our cause and want to help. I personally want to thank everyone who has supported us and contributed so much over the years. But you can only get so far on goodwill alone. So 18 months ago, in my first presentation to our board as CEO, I outlined a strategy to grow and professionalise Women in Games. I understood that if we were really serious about achieving our goals, we needed to build an organization capable of delivering deeds as well as words.

But growing an organization to do good deeds and bring lasting change requires time and money. Although my strategy was warmly received by the board, it quickly proved challenging to deliver due to the lack of organizational bandwidth, particularly in terms of the human and economic capital available. So we decided to focus on developing more sustainable sponsorship and fundraising models that would enable us to grow. As a result, we’ve forged new relationships with sponsors – such as 2K/Hangar 13, Facebook, Dovetail Games, King, AIM Awards, Ukie, Improbable, Jagex, Epic Games, Big Pixel, The Trailer Farm, Nerial, Norwich University of the Arts and more – and recently launched a Patreon campaign. And it was the amazing generosity of both our sponsors and patrons that empowered us to deliver what was generally agreed to have been the best ever European Women in Games Conference in London last month.

Women in Games received some negative press and online comments regarding an award being given to a man, James Banks, to recognise his promotion of women in esports. Experience has taught us that to effect meaningful and lasting change, women need good allies in positions of influence. And due to historic inequality in our sector, this means men who see the real cultural, creative, organizational, societal and economic benefits of an equal, diverse and inclusive workforce. That’s why Women in Games celebrates men who work to improve equality, diversity and inclusion in our industry. That’s why our advocacy awards also recognised Steven Taarland for his amazing Rainbow Game Jam. And that’s why Kish Hirani and Adam Campbell were recognised for their essential work with BAME in Games.

As CEO, I take any criticism of Women in Games extremely seriously. Particularly when an element of that criticism comes from an anonymous board member. I believe we only get better by listening to our critics and their concerns, learning from them, then responding proactively and positively. So earlier this month, I called an Extraordinary Board Meeting to review the recent events. This was part of a process that was necessary to openly discuss and agree actions resulting from these events. It ensured all board members were given the opportunity to communicate their perspectives and contribute fully to the future direction of Women in Games.

The outcome of the Extraordinary Board Meeting was broad agreement that Women in Games must now prioritise professionalising and scaling as an organization. And that we should aim to set the standard for good governance, democratic process and transparency within the sector as we do so. We agreed the recent criticism had emerged from – and helped illuminate – the ‘growing pains’ that so often occur when a very small organization with a legacy grassroots structure attempts to deliver large scale, labour intensive and professional outputs. And we all agreed this was both an opportunity and catalyst for change. Failure occurs only when we don’t learn.

Consequently, I will be working with the board to revisit and update our organizational strategy, overhaul our organizational governance and structure, ensure better communication of our aims and activities, continue to forge new relationships and partnerships at home and abroad, plus clarify and standardise our awards process for 2019. This work has already started. And although all these changes cannot happen overnight, I believe it is now essential to start evolving Women in Games from its grassroots origins into an effective, resilient and sustainable organization. Only then can we become fully capable of achieving our stated mission: to ensure lasting equality and freedom from discrimination for all women working in our industry.

Marie-Claire Isaaman
CEO, Women in Games

Become a member of Women in Games WIGJ – Hear from our CEO and Founder.

Our network has grown massively since its foundation in 2009 reaching over 10000 globally but is still run by volunteers giving their time freely and willingly.  To meet the demands on the organisation which helps add skills and provides opportunities to thousands of game developers, we are now reaching out to individual and corporate patrons with a membership scheme where subscribers will receive additional, exclusive information and advice for as little as $1 a month. More information on benefits.

Marie-Claire Isaaman CEO of Women in Games WIGJ, “We are proud to offer Patreon membership to our supporters. Patreon is a modern way to reward subscribers that are prepared to pay a small amount more for additional, exclusive information and advice that WIGJ will make available each month. WIGJ will benefit from a regular income that will allow the organisation to provide more services in the future. Please subscribe to Patreon today at whatever level you can afford.

Margot James, UK Minister for Creative Industries, supports the Women in Games Conference.

WIGJ was delighted to receive this message of support from Margot James, UK Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries. This video was played at the start of the European Women in Games Conference on Wednesday, 12 September. For full details of the 2018 conference including programme and speakers see https://www.womeningamesconference.com/

 

Tanya Laird and Christine Burgess-Quémard join 14 in the European Women in Games Hall of Fame.

Women in Games WIGJ welcomes Tanya Laird, Founder Digital Jam and Christine Burgess-Quémard, Executive Director, Worldwide Studios, UbiSoft in to the European Women in Games Hall of Fame. This year’s awards were presented by Marie-Claire Isaaman, CEO of WIGJ and Aoife Brodigan, Head of Gaming Marketing, EMEA at sponsor Facebook.

Tanya Laird is a veteran of the digital industries having worked at Disney, Mind Candy, and Jagex, before setting up her own company, Digital Jam Ltd. She’s worked across platforms; films, TV, immersive content, AR, VR, games. She sits as a Vice Chair of BAME in Games, Co-Chair of the Immerse U.K. Sub group for content; is the creator of the VR Writers Room and the co-organiser for the VR & AR focused meetup group “Augmenting Reality”.

Christine Burgess-Quémard is Executive Director of UbiSoft’s worldwide studios, a role she has had since 1987. Ubisoft have 26 studios with the Ubisoft name and they have acquired 11 which keep their original name. Ubisoft has the second-largest in-house development team in the world, with more than 13,000 staff members working in over 30 countries

Congratulations to Tanya and Christine! Runners up were Gisela Vaquero, Jodie Azhar and Simay Dinc.

See the full list of 16 women inducted into the European Women in Games Hall of Fame.

Women in Games WIGJ celebrates the winners of our inaugural esports awards

Marie-Claire and Lisa Brightman

Marie-Claire and Lisa Brightman

Marie-Claire and Cordelia Chui

Congratulations to Lisa Blackman, James Banks, Riot Gaming UK and Cordelia ‘Scarakye’ Chui, the winners of our inaugural Women in Games UK Esports Awards.

These new awards have been introduced to recognise prominent and talented women in esports and also allies who understand the diversity challenges the sector faces and who are proactively engaged in supporting the development of a more equal and inclusive esports environment.

Globally the UK is “coming from behind” and these awards seek to celebrate the talent that is from or based in the UK, in order to inspire more talent to rise up and take their place on the world stage. We also seek to recognise all individuals who want to support equality, inclusion, diversity in a challenging environment.

Our first ever awards were selected from European Women in Games Conference speakers by our WIGJ esports leads and were approved by the WIGJ Board prior to the conference. They reflect our commitment to work proactively with all stakeholders in the sector to champion esports as a welcoming place for women and to drive important initiatives and changes to create a truly equal sector.

 

Streamer Award
The inaugural Women in Games Presenter Award goes to Twitch Streamer and Charity Campaigner, Lisa Brightman, also better known by her Streaming Tag LieseinWonderland!. She became ill with ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in October 2015 and had to give up her career as a history teacher. After realising she could no longer teach and be active in educating the way she used to, she discovered Twitch. Initially, it was a way to make contact with other humans in a safe environment which could be managed around her symptoms, but she rapidly realised it was a platform she could use to push for positive change! She is an active collaborator with the charity M.E. Action giving 20% of her streaming revenues to the Charity, and since October 2017, she has been working to educate and fund-raise one stream at a time. She was the first Twitch streamer to stream though the Women in Games Twitch account and we are delighted that she managed to make it down to London with her partner.
Presenter Award
The inaugural Women in Games Presenter Award goes to James Banks, a journalist, commentator, manager, and most recently a host very prominent in both the Open and Women’s Tournament CS:GO and 1v1 games circuit. In the Open tournament world, recent events include ESL One: Belo Horizonte in Brazil, the Bets.net Masters in Kiev, Ukraine and VSFighting in Birmingham.
Now there are not many Women-only tournaments but this presenter hosted the Intel Challenge for CS Go Katowice — 2018, this year’s womens tournament at the Copenhagen Games 2018 and the WESG Women’s’ Finals in 2017. James wins for his good nature, his ease at working with all talent. His own experience and knowledge is growing as is his support for Women in Games and his desire to challenge inequality in esports.
Team Award
The inaugural Women in Games Team Award goes to a team based in Manchester, Riot Gaming UK, an org which strives to be “the world’s leading organisation in female eSports across numerous titles and platforms. Management, players and creators all share one common ground — proving that females can keep up with the best of the best”. They are “the first and only organisation to be run successfully by five passionate and driven women”. They are “a tight-knit organisation who thrive from the loyalty of their members and followers, and see themselves as one big family. In only a short time they have gained a respectable fan-base and reputation online and offline.” Their current, most successful teams in both North America and Europe play Call of Duty.
Player Award
The inaugural Women in Games Player Award goes to Cordelia “Scarakye” Chui. The citation for her award has been written by Cordelia’s former Managing Director who sadly could not be at this year’s conference. “During her time with Barrage Esports, the person has had some incredible achievements including finishing 4th in the world at the World Electronic Sports Games. She has attended numerous Hearthstone events in the UK and abroad where she has proved time and time again that gender has no bearing on results. Most importantly she has been professional, kind and caring for those around her the entire time. She has worked extremely hard with and for the other members of the team and has been a fantastic example of what an esports professional should be. She is an inspiration to young women and I’ve been blessed to be part of her journey.”

WIGJ believes strongly that women and men should ultimately compete together in open tournaments, but that the esports sector as a whole need to do more to break down the barriers that exist to prevent many women reaching the highest levels of competition. To do this, it is important for both women and men to work together to tackle the under-representation of women that exists in all areas of esports. Our esports awards exist to celebrate the achievements of both women and men campaigning to make esports more welcoming and inclusive.

Women in Games WIGJ is a not for profit organisation run largely by volunteers. Next year our awards and what the judges will be looking for will be published well in advance so that more nominations can be considered. In our first year, it has been most important to get these awards off the ground alongside the 3 other sets of awards on offer at the European Women in Games Conference.

Congratulations once again to all our winners and we look forward to many more streaming and esports professionals being considered next year.

2K and Hangar 13 Commit to Long-term Partnership with Women in Games

WIGJ is pleased to announce a partnership with 2K in an effort to encourage career opportunities for women in the games industry, and foster diverse and inclusive hiring efforts across the publisher and its development studios. Starting at the European Women in Games Conference at City, University of London Sept. 11-12, 2K and Hangar 13 are kicking off a long-term partnership with Women in Games — a not for profit organisation that works to recruit more women into the games industry and support those already working in the industry.

“Women in Games is a fantastic organization that’s been instrumental in supporting diversity in the games industry for nearly 10 years,” said Melissa Bell, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Marketing at 2K. “We hope this partnership leads to more women joining the development and marketing teams at 2K and Hangar 13, but our goal is to support women in the industry at large.”

Hangar 13 — one of 2K’s leading AAA development studios — is sponsoring and hosting several events and speakers at the European Women in Games Conference, in addition to presenting at the European Advocacy Awards and staging a recruitment booth at the event. Hangar 13 recently opened a new office in Brighton, UK in addition to offices in Novato, California and two in the Czech Republic, and is now focused on a recruitment and hiring push to support their recently confirmed in-development new IP.

“Diversity is good for game development,” said Haden Blackman, Global Studio Head and Creative Director at Hangar 13. “Having a broad range of perspectives working to make and market your game means that the game will resonate with and reach more people. We’re very excited to support Women in Games and other organizations that are working hard to connect developers and publishers to diverse and talented people.”

“The Women in Games WIGJ, not for profit organisation exists to double the number of women working in the games industry by 2025,”’said Marie-Claire Isaaman, CEO of Women in Games, “It is extremely important that the organisation works in tandem with studios to advise on initiatives and support research. Our new long term partnership with 2K represents a clear signal of intent, that through working together, we can change the prevalent culture of the games industry. This exciting new partnership will become public at this year’s European Women in Games Conference where 2K will lead in the European Advocacy Awards taking place on September 11th, lunch on the Tuesday and closing drinks on the Wednesday”.

In addition to participation at upcoming Women in Games events, as a Corporate Ambassador, 2K and Hangar 13 will also be joining the Women in Games Board.

WIGJ launch initiative to support women games streamers on Twitch

Women in Games WIGJ is pleased to announce an initiative to showcase and support women streamers on Twitch. These ‘GamerGirls’ typically stream from home and rely on subscriptions from those watching their streams.

WIGJ plans to collaborate with some of the most passionate streamers who will stream every Saturday from 12 noon to 12 midnight through the WIGJ Twitch account at https://www.twitch.tv/wigj   The first steam is Saturday 11 August with 12:00 — 14:55   LieseInWonderland, 15:00 — 17:55   AskLuna, 18:00 — 20:55   Bex_bomb and 21:00 — 00:00  ConnieKur0i

The initiative is the idea of WIGJ Community Manager, Mareike Rieger, who said “We are hoping to build a community to create awareness for esports and to improve the credibility and acceptance of streamers. Giving a platform for all who sometimes don’t feel like they have one. As we are non-profit all the work we do for streamers is voluntary.”

David Smith, WIGJ Founder, commented. “Streamers are an important part of the esports ecosystem as they seek to make a living from playing games. Some streamers move on to play esports at a semi professional level. WIGJ wants to support streamers by showcasing the talent that exists. WIGJ seeks to build its network with streamers who care about supporting each other in the streaming community.

With the imminent disappearance of communities from Twitch, WIGJ are campaigning to incorporate self-identification into the new Twitch tags. In the same vein as the LGBTQ+ tag, WIGJ seeks tags for gender and ethnicity. We suggest ? These are common on Twitter.

WIGJ launch free European Women in Games Conference tickets with Patreon membership scheme

Tickets for the European Women in Games Conference, sponsored by Facebook, taking place on the 11th-12th  September at City, University of London are now on sale. There are also a limited number of free tickets available for those subscribing $5 a month to WIGJ’s new Patreon membership scheme.

With the objective to educate, inspire and help stimulate future generations, the inspirational two-day event will comprise of keynote speeches, panel discussions and workshops, a party and 5 sets of awards. There will also be over 50 speakers and panellists from across the games industry that represent the diverse wealth of sectors and the talent within them.

Our new Patreon scheme is launched to reflect the success of our network growing massively since its foundation in 2009 to over 10000 globally. To meet the demands on the organisation which is still run by volunteers giving their time freely and willingly, and to continue to help add skills and opportunities to thousands of game developers, we are now reaching out to individual and corporate patrons with a membership scheme where subscribers will receive additional, exclusive information, advice and benefits for as little as $1 a month. As part of the Patreon launch offer, our Patreon members agreeing to subscribe $5 /month can be able to buy a full price, 2 day ticket Eventbrite for £300 for the equivalent of  a year’s subscription of $60 or about £45, using a 100% discount code only available to Patreon subscribers.

Marie-Claire Isaaman CEO of Women in Games said, “We are proud to offer Patreon membership to our supporters. Patreon is a modern way to reward subscribers that are prepared to pay a small amount more for additional, exclusive information and advice that WIGJ will make available each month. The timing of the launch of this membership scheme means that members can immediately benefit from a substantial saving on all conference tickets. WIGJ will benefit from a regular income that will allow the organisation to provide more services in the future. Please subscribe to Patreon today at whatever level you can afford and make sure you get the discount code to obtain your free conference tickets.”

For further details about the conference and to buy tickets please visit  https://www.womeningamesconference.com/ and https://ewigconf2018.eventbrite.co.uk but sign up to our Patreon membership first.

The event is inclusive and male delegates are very welcome.

WIGJ announce evening European Advocacy Awards and call for conference speakers and sponsors

Women in Games WIGJ is pleased to announce that the European Games Advocacy Awards and WIGJ Party will take place on the Tuesday 11th September at a venue near to City, University of London.

Women in Games wishes to recognise the Advocates for Change in the European Games sector.

WIGJ has a 10 year history of advocacy but many more causes beyond diversity are now being discussed and promoted. A number of outstanding Advocates will be invited by WIGJ to present to delegates at the conference and attend a ceremony in the evening where the Awards will be presented. The evening will continue with a networking Party to which both conference delegates and local game developers will be invited. These are new events and partners are now being sought to make these a success.

David Smith, Founder of WIGJ commented, “WIGJ wishes to recognise the importance of the many causes and the individuals behind these causes.  An evening event also lets us celebrate the achievements of the last year and thank our many supporters and allies.  Look out for more announcements for this years conference and get involved! Sign up to speak and get your friends and work colleagues lined up to join us.”

Facebook is the headline sponsor for this year’s European Women in Games Conference which takes place 11-12 September at City, University of London. The themes for 2018 are Education, Entrepreneurship, Engagement, Equality, Evolution and Esports. Our public call for speakers and sponsors starts today. Any speaker or company interested in taking part in Europe’s most high profile games diversity event should contact our CEO, Marie-Claire Isaaman or Founder, David Smith.

WIGJ partner with first female focused GirlGamer Esports Festival in Portugal 20-22 July

Women in Games WIGJ is pleased to partner with the first esports festival in Europe focused predominantly on women. The GirlGamer Esports Festival is an action-packed 3 day event that celebrates and promotes female competitiveness in esports. A full day business conference on the Friday is followed by CSGO and League of Legends tournaments where 8 invited women’s teams from all over the world compete for a 20000 Euros prize pool.

This event was run for the first time last year in Macau, China and the organisers, Grow uP Esports, are bringing it to Europe in 2018. An esports event aimed predominantly at women is a first. Other festivals in Denmark and Sweden have held a women only competition but the one competition for women has always been secondary to a larger number of male dominated, open competitions. WIGJ wishes all the conference and tournament participants every success. This is the model that can be bright to many other cities around the world.

If any of our supporters would like to attend the business conference on the Friday and meet with WIGJ Board members Dr Ying-Ying Law and David Smith, you can use the WOMENINGAMES code to get a discounted conference pass.

Read more